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Three Virginia Tech athletes honored by ACC

The ACC on Monday afternoon announced a list of 36 student-athletes selected for the Weaver-James-Corrigan Award, including three from Virginia Tech, for those who have distinguished themselves academically and competitively.

Abby Barney, of the Hokies' swimming and diving team; Paul LaPenna, of the cross country and track and field teams; and Matej Muza, also of the track and field team, were this year's recipients.

Muza was one of only three ACC athletes selected for the Thacker Award, which honors those who "demonstrate outstanding performance both in athletic competition and in the classroom and intend to further their education through post-graduate studies at an ACC institution."

The Weaver-James-Corrigan and Jim and Pat Thacker scholarships are awarded to selected student-athletes -- three from each league institution -- who intend to pursue a graduate degree following completion of their undergraduate requirements. Each recipient will receive $5,000 to contribute to their graduate education. The award is named for the late Jim Weaver and Bob James, as well as Gene Corrigan, all of whom are former ACC commissioners.

Barney, who studies human nutrition, foods, and exercise, has competed for Virginia Tech in four ACC championship meets and ranks among the school’s top-five all-time marks in the 100 and 200-yard butterfly and the 200-yard individual medley. She was awarded the school’s Pamplin Leadership Scholarship for showing strong academic performance and commitment to community in 2006-07. She is planning to attend the Eastern Virginia Medical School’s physician’s assistant program.

LaPenna, also studying human nutrition, foods, and exercise, has been a four-time member of the ACC Honor Roll. LaPenna has served as a guest speaker at several faith-based events as an active member of Athletes in Action, a faith-based organization for Christian athletes. He made the all-ACC cross country team in 2007 with a four-place finish in the 3,000-meter run at the ACC championship. He plans to attend the Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Muza, a native of Zagreb, Croatia, ranked fifth and 10th nationally in the hammer throw and weight throw, respectively, in 2008 before graduating in May 2009. He was selected to the ACC all-academic men's track and field team four times and was a second-team CoSIDA/Academic All-District III selection. Muza, who studied geography, began his master’s program during the fall 2009 semester in geographic information systems at Virginia Tech.

By Mark Viera  |  March 2, 2010; 2:15 PM ET
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